No. 8 Texas won its 35th consecutive conference championship with 1,071 points this weekend at the Lee and Joe Jamail Texas Swimming Center. In addition to finishing first, Texas dominated the competition with six event wins and several NCAA-qualifying times.
Even though the men’s team has won the Big 12 title every year since the championship was founded in 1996, head coach Eddie Reese said winning doesn’t gets old.
“You get a new group, and you send your most experienced group,” Reese said. “If you ever forget to do the simple things then you have to stay on that.”
Saturday’s finals kicked off with men’s platform diving. Freshman diver Mark Anderson opened the night well over 100 points ahead of competitors. Anderson said mental imagery helped him prepare.
“[Imagining actions outside the water] definitely helped,” Anderson said. “I felt like when I got back in, I didn’t worry as much because I had it played out in my head.”
After freshman swimmer Jack Conger claimed the 100 butterfly in an NCAA automatic cut 45.56, Conger notched his second victory and automatic berth with a 1:40.56 finish in the 200 backstroke. The success merited Conger recognition as the Men’s Newcomer of the Meet.
“It’s not about the time right now — it’s about placing and doing your part of the team,” Conger said. “The NCAAs are on our mind, you know. I hope I can get up there a few more times. We’ll see.”
Longhorn Big 12 title winners of the weekend include freshman Will Licon for his performance in the 200 breaststroke, sophomore Sam Lewis for the 1,650 freestyle and sophomore breaststroke swimmer Imri Ganiel for the 100 breaststroke. Junior breaststroke swimmer Matt Korman finished with the event’s fastest 100 breaststroke time in the consolation final at 53.35. As Texas finished the night swimming the 400 freestyle relay with an NCAA qualifying cut, Reese applauded his team’s efforts.
“We were a little low on our enthusiasm,” Reese said. “But we got it together last night and were a lot better this morning. Tonight we were as good as I could have hoped.”
The NCAA Championships will be held March 27–29 in Austin.